4 Steps to Self-Acceptance
Learning to Accept Yourself
Self- Acceptance can be a very difficult concept, especially because as humans we tend to be in the state of wanting to change parts of ourselves or are constantly judging ourselves. How can we accept ourselves when the acceptance is already conditional versus unconditional? When I first began my journey of self-development and healing, I lived in the consciousness of “I’ll accept myself when… I will love myself when…. I will be happy if… and sometimes why me?” I believed that self-acceptance and self-love was achievable but only if things changed. When really, things change when we learn self-acceptance and live from that space. Our level of happiness increases and the possibility of what else could be or what else could happen comes from a state of accepting what is already so.
If we want to increase our self-worth and self-acceptance, it is important to explore the parts that we do not currently accept. Here we can begin to acknowledge these parts of ourselves and learn to just witness the judgement we have here. By learning to witness the judgment we have of ourselves it helps us to do just that; just witness the thoughts and the judgement. Then from here we can begin to cultivate self-compassion, recognizing our humanity and develop the ability to hold space for all that we are, and all that we are not. Holding space means to allow without judgment, or allow without trying to fix. And in holding space we can implement teachings that grow self-acceptance like being gentle with ourselves and choosing to be all that we are, and all that we are not.
Gentleness was one of the biggest teachings that truly transformed my life. When I decided that I was going to be gentle, sweet and kind to myself it felt like it removed the weight, the pressure that I had been putting on myself to be something different than I was. In moments of judgment, I would witness the judgment, hold space for it to be there and then remind myself gentle, gentle. I am what I am, I am not what I am not, and even though I am judging myself, I can love myself through this. Witnessing judgement can just be “oh I just had a mean, negative thought about myself”, acknowledging the thought rather than identifying with it. It is taking a step back from being the thought, to hearing it.
In my journey, I had struggled quite intensely with body image issues since I was quiet young and I really believed that I should be different, I should look different and that if I did I would feel different. Yet no matter what I did to “improve” or change my appearance, the feelings never disappeared. And that is because self-love and acceptance, is built on just that, loving and accepting who we are, and who we are not. It is okay that we aren’t certain things or that we don’t look a certain way, we are so divinely unique and there is a reason for that. When we can choose to be exactly what we are without conditions or hesitation, it opens up the possibility of living a life that is free and joyful.
So, I wanted to share with you the teachings that facilitated the growth of my self-acceptance and self-love because they truly provided the space for me to live into my potential verses my limitation.
1. Gentle, gentle
a. Anytime a judgment arises, or feeling of self-dislike or self-hate, remind yourself to be gentle, even though it may hurt, may be uncomfortable or cause emotions, take a deep breath and say “gentle, gentle”. It is okay that I feel this, it is okay that I thought that.
2. I forgive myself for believing that the way things have been is the way they have to stay
a. Forgiving ourselves is essential to entering a new space.If we do not forgive and punish ourselves we are holding on. Forgiving ourselves for our negative thoughts, our fears, and our beliefs that are based off the past. This teaching can be used in any area of life, not just forgiving ourselves for negative self-talk but for believing our finances will never change, or relationship status, or career, any area. Remind yourself that just because you’re in a current circumstance, does not mean it is permanent.
3. I choose all that I am, and all that I am not
a. I wanted to be taller, skinner, I wanted my crooked fingers to be straight, or my ears to not stick out, my skin to be clear, my ribcage to not be twisted and to be symmetrical. I constantly choose to fight and resist qualities of myself that contribute my to uniqueness. So now I choose them, I choose to love my fingers, my height, and my body the way it is. I choose my uniqueness and I encourage you to choose yours. The way your brain is configured is completely unique, your DNA is completely unique, it has never occurred before and will never occur again. And there is a reason for it, something bigger or greater has deemed you important to be here, important to exist. So, choose all that you are, and all that you are not. I say to myself, I choose this, I choose myself, even when its something I don’t like, because if I fight it, it doesn’t make it go away. And by choosing it all, it can shift the way you feel immediately.
4. Siting with the emotion
a. Closing your eyes, sit with the emotion that is there, allow it up and out, let it release and breathe through it. Don’t try to change it, just sit and be with it for as long as it needs until you feel a sense of relief or a shift.
Everything happens for us not to us. The emotions, pain and issues that we go through are here to teach us, to evolve us and to help us grow into our potential. We just need to surrender to them, accept them and let them teach us. My self-worth issues taught me self-love. The self-rejection issues I had, taught me self-acceptance. I have learned how to have self-compassion, self-understanding and resilience through this journey. I encourage you to learn to be gentle on yourself, forgive yourself and choose yourself so that you can live into your potential rather than your limitation. Embody and live into your greatness.